Friday, March 28, 2014

Year of the Jungle

Collins, Suzanne. 2013. YEAR OF THE JUNGLE. Ill. by James Proimos. New York: Scholastic. ISBN 0545425162 [Suggested Grade Levels 1 - 8]

Year of the Jungle is touching picture book from The Hunger Games’ author Suzanne Collins.  Little Suzy has a dad who has to go to “something called war” in Viet Nam.  Through the story Suzy not only misses her father dearly, but imagines what it’s like for him to be off in a war in a jungle.  As time goes on and communication from her father become confused and then stops, Suzy’s worries grow as do all children with parents or family on active duty.

James Proimos’s illustrations are whimsical and captivating.  They help tell the story of a young girl in first grade with a great imagination.  Even though the pictures are whimsical, they still connect the reader to Suzy’s feelings throughout the book.  The writing and illustrations pair well to communicate the deep feelings of possible loss to a little girl.

This book is a great read especially for children who have parents or relatives deployed elsewhere.  It could help them see that they are not alone in their concern and feelings about their loved ones.

Lead a discussion about family deployed in dangerous situations.  Students can discuss, even hypothetically, what it must feel like to be concerned about a parent or an older sibling who is away.
Create a word wall of feelings from Year of the Jungle.  Have students give feeling words and even use a thesaurus to find related words.

Brisson, Pat. SOMETIMES WE WERE BRAVE. ISBN 1590785867
Hardin, Melinda. HERO DAD. ISBN 0761457135

By Lisa M. Zinkie

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